Soldiers deploying to Afghanistan
It is with a mixture of pride and apprehension that our communities gathered for the deployment of some 600 Alabama National Guard soldiers in ceremonies this week, including events in Talladega and Sylacauga. Members of the 1/167 Infantry Battalion are heading to Afghanistan for a scheduled one-year deployment in the fight against terrorism.

The guard traces its roots back more than three centuries when colonial militias were the only line of defense in early settlements. These citizen-soldiers have been active throughout our nation’s history, offering support in virtually all of our nation’s armed conflicts.

This time it’s a fight against radicalized Muslims who believe murder is the proper way to win respect for their beliefs — an illogical thought held by an invisible enemy in a strange land. Our soldiers have their work cut out for them on a dangerous mission.

We’re glad to see the community support for our citizen soldiers, and hope they and their families will be remembered while they are away. Notes and packages from home mean a lot to soldiers on deployment. Help with household chores, an occasional meal and child care can mean a lot to spouses with children back home.

There will not be a quick end to the war on terror, and even as the number of troops in Afghanistan is being reduced, an undetermined number apparently will remain there after the announced 2014 deadline for withdrawal.

It’s a stressful time for those deployed and for those left behind. We offer our thanks to all of the nation’s service members and their families, and we encourage their networks of friends and relatives to offer them their help and support.

© 2012